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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Family heirs make Ahmednagar issue of prestige

The hot seat of a rivalry between two powerful political families, the Jagtaps and the Vikhe-Patils, the seat has seen generations of both the families holding on to the political stage for decades

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 15, 2019 16:37 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Nationalist Congress Party have resorted to grassroots campaigning to woo voters and win the Ahmednagar seat.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

The fight for the Ahmednagar south parliamentary seat is straight from the Godfather movie script, in a political setting, of course. The hot seat of a rivalry between two powerful political families, the Jagtaps and the Vikhe-Patils, the seat has seen generations of both the families holding on to the political stage for decades.

The two leading candidates contesting from the seat - Sujay Vikhe-Patil of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Sangram Jagtap of the Nationalist Congress Patil. The seat has been with the BJP since the past fifteen years and was represented by former member of Parliament (MP) Dilip Gandhi, who has been denied a ticket by the party this time.

The parties have resorted to high voltage, grassroots campaigning to win the seat. Sangram Jagtap is the sitting member of legislative assembly from Ahmednagar and Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil, who is a neurosurgeon by profession, is the son of leader of Opposition in Maharashtra, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.

Both the candidates project a youthful image to their voters.

The political tussle is, now, a prestige issue for both, the BJP and the NCP, as there are allegations and counter-allegations demeaning the name of both the families.

The Shiv Sena has been at loggerheads with the NCP in Ahmednagar over the killings of two of its activists. The Ahmednagar police had booked MLA Sangram Jagtap; his father member of legislative council Arun Kaka Jagtap and his father-in–law Shivajirao Kardile, a BJP legislator, in connection with the killing of two Shiv Sena members- Sanjay Kotkar and Vasant Thube in Ahmednagar in April 2018.

The supporters of MLA Sangram Jagtap, including Kardile were arrested on charges of vandalising the Ahmednagar superintendent of police (SP) office after Jagtap was detained in connection with the killings.

Former Ahmednagar Municipal Council president Abhay Agarkar and senior BJP leader, said that the BJP’s choice of candidate has been appropriate as Sujay will draw votes from all sections of the society (because of his clean no scandal image, family lineage, education, vision for empowerment of the people). “Another factor which will affect the voting pattern this election are the rising law and order issues and increasing crime graph of the district. People want a change and Sujay will be the new change in Ahmednagar. His rivals are facing criminal charges, which is now known to the entire district. Besides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally (held on April 12) will have a strong impact on the voters of this constituency,” he said.

NCP’s Sangram Jagtap, however, levelled counter allegations and said, “The Vikhe-Patils have been involved in land grabbing and have utilised their political connections to gain benefits from the Centre. They have never solved the problems of the people.”

Talking only about his vision for the constituency, Sujay Vikhe-Patil, said, “Solving the water issue is my priority. My oppnents have a crimal history, but my focus would be on development which will give me an edge during the elections.”

Former Shiv Sena MLA Anil Rathod, said, “The NCP in Ahmednagar is known for beign a crime syndicate run by political families which are interlinked through marriage. The investigation against three legislators involved in the murder of two Shiv Sena activists is moving at a slow pace. Ahmednagar needs a change and Sujay Vikhe-Patil will bring that change. The Sena is firmly behind the BJP and will inflict a crushing defeat on the NCP,” he said.

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 16:37 IST